By John Malhotra
North east India has a high concentration of Christians, but there are fears that this fact is being exploited by criminals disguising themselves as missionaries and evangelists in order to traffic children.
Last month, over 70 such malnourished children from Manipur, Nagaland, and other north eastern states were rescued from a home at Kuzhithurai in Kanyakumari district.
Families, particularly in Manipur, are reportedly sending their children off into the hands of traffickers who promise to give them an education or employment, as highlighted recently by the Times of India.
It is believed that the children, aged from around six to 15, are being taken to unregistered children’s homes where they are kept in poor conditions and made to do menial work such as cooking and laundry.
There have been reports of children dying in suspicious circumstances and of others being molested and abused.
“These institutions exploit religion to make money. With many of them not registered with the government, the homes escape scrutiny,”said Vidya Reddy of the Centre for Prevention and Healing of Child Sexual Abuse in Tulir, according to the Times of India.
In light of the reports, the Church has become concerned for the welfare of children.
“This trend is shocking and deplorable,” said Dr. Hrangthan Chhungi, theologian and Secretary of Commission on Adivasis/Tribals in the National Council of Churches in India.
“It is indeed very ruinous and gross that religion is used for the trafficking business,” she said. “Taking the name of Christianity, they lure gullible Christians, specially the parents of poor families or guardians of homeless children and make it a thriving business.”
In explaining why Manipur is an easy target, Chhungi noted how the Kuki people in that state are one of the most victimized tribes in inter-tribe conflicts. These conflicts and killings have rendered children without parents in recent years.
“This sorry situation is taken advantage and made a business by vested interests,” she stated.
Knowing this, the National Council of Churches in India plans to hold a symposium to raise awareness of child trafficking among churches and NGOs.
The ecumenical organization of Protestant and Orthodox churches in India presently represents 13 million Christian people through out the country and includes groups such as National Council of YMCAs, YWCA of India, Churches Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA), and Bible Society of India (BSI).
In total, NCCI is made up of twenty-nine member churches , fourteen regional councils, fourteen all-India organizations and seven related agencies.
Outspoken Christian Quarterback Kurt Warner announced his retirement from the National Football League on Friday, thanking God for the opportunities he received both on and off the field.
“As always, as it started in 1999 when I was up on the podium holding up a trophy, the first thing I want to do is give thanks to God,” Warner said during a press conference in Tempe, Ariz., referring to his widely-heard shot out to the Almighty following his Super Bowl win with the St. Louis Rams.
“My Lord Jesus brought me here. I know he brought me here for a purpose. And it’s been an amazing ride,” he added.
Though Hall of Fame-bound Warner stands out as one of the top quarterbacks in NFL history – with an impressive list of achievements that includes three MVP awards, a Super Bowl win, and the second-highest completion percentage in NFL history – Warner is most noted for his King David-esque rise to stardom, which was twice witnessed.
Not only did Warner go from stocking shelves at a grocery store in 1994 to a winning a Super Bowl in 2000, he also returned to the spotlight after his time appeared to be up, leading the Arizona Cardinals to the franchises’ first-ever Super Bowl in 2009.
“I don’t think I could have dreamt out that it would have played out as it had. But I’ve been humbled everyday that I’ve woke up for the last 12 years and amazed that God would choose to use me to do what He’s given me the opportunity to do over 12 years,” Warner said Friday.
But the one-time Super Bowl MVP made it clear that the opportunities he was given were not only on the football field. For him, it’s not just about the successes and the Super Bowls and the wins and the losses.
“[I]t’s also been the opportunities that He (God)’s given to me off the football field,” Warner stated.
Since his rise to stardom, Warner has been a featured speaker across the country for numerous churches, non-profit organizations, men’s conferences, and corporate events.
Warner’s work both on and off the field, meanwhile, resulted in him being awarded the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2008 and the Muhammad Ali Sports Leadership Award in 2009. Warner was also selected by USA Weekend as the winner of its annual Most Caring Athlete Award for 2009 and, just last month, topped a Sports Illustrated poll of NFL players to name the best role model on and off the field in the NFL.
First Things First Foundation, a non-profit public charity that he and his wife established in 2001, has been involved with numerous projects for causes such as children’s hospitals, people with developmental disabilities and assisting single parents.
“So I hope that when people think back over my career – maybe it’s just over the next couple of weeks as they reflect on it or maybe it’s years to come – that that’s what they remember more than anything else,” Warner said Friday.
“Not the way I threw the football, not particular games that I won. But that they remember that here’s a guy that believed, that worked hard, and – although things didn’t always go in his favor – he continued to press through. And with his faith in himself and with his faith in God, he was able to accomplish great things,” he concluded.
As for his future plans, Warner said earlier at the press conference that he’s just as excited about the next 12 years as he has the past “12 unbelievable years – 12 of the best years of my life.”
“I’m excited about what lies in front of me. I’m excited about spending more time with my family and seeing what God’s going to do next,” he reported.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Warner will keep his charitable foundation going, perhaps do some speaking, writing, ministry work, and maybe some football analyst work on TV or radio.
First Things First Foundation, which draws its name from Warner’s famed post-Super Bowl response in 2000, is dedicated to impacting lives by promoting Christian values, sharing experiences and providing opportunities “to encourage everyone that all things are possible when people seek to put first things first.”
The charity’s guiding principle is Matthew 6:33, which states “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
By Ethan Cole
According to reports, authorities had threatened the Rev. Sourik, the bishop and overseer of the Assemblies of God Churches in Iran, to completely shut down the Central Assemblies of God Church in Tehran unless it stopped holding Friday services by the deadline, Oct. 31.
Sourik, who had resisted the demands of authorities, finally relented and announced at the end of a Friday afternoon worship on Oct. 30 that there would no longer be Friday gatherings but only Sunday services.
“The announcement of the termination of the Friday services was received with shock and utter surprise and resulted in many openly weeping in the church service,” reported the Farsi Christian News Network.
According to reports, Sourik had complied with the demand in order to protect the security and well-being of the members and visitors attending the church services. Sourik, who has heart problems, had been under pressure from officials of the Ministry of Information to close down the church on Fridays, which is the official weekly holiday in Iran.
More recently, the pastor also received threats from the Pasdaran Militia (The Revolutionary Guards), which gave the ultimatum that if Friday services did not end by Oct. 31 then the militia would forcibly close the church down for good.
Some hearing the news of the Friday service ban say they fear that the crackdown is the beginning of a new campaign against public Christian worship gatherings. Most of the Christians in Iran worship in underground churches, but the Assemblies of God Church of Tehran is one of the few that holds public services.
“I believe the main reason they closed those services is to send a strong signal to all Christians inside and outside Iran that they will not tolerate Christianity in Iran,” commented one informant to International Christian Concern. “Its purpose is mostly to intimidate.”
Thus far, government officials have failed to provide an explanation for the closing of Friday services at the Central Assemblies of God Church.
Regardless, persecution watchdog groups say they oppose Iran’s resolution to bar Christians from freely having fellowship on Fridays, or any other day of the week.
“We urge Iran to respect the rights of its Christians to practice their faith freely without government interference, or authoritarian rule,” said Aidan Clay, ICC regional manager for the Middle East.
The Assemblies of God Church of Tehran is an independent church that was founded by several pastors and Christian lay leaders years before the Islamic revolution. The church continued its ministry after the revolution and several pastors were martyred by extremists, including some reportedly with ties to the regime.
Evangelical author Josh McDowell takes on theology of media icon
DALLAS, Texas – “One of the mistakes that human beings make is believing that there is only one way to live, and we don’t accept that there are diverse ways to being in the world. There are many paths to what you call God.”
Oprah Winfrey said it. And when she did, many Americans who love Oprah believed it.
But one of the best-selling living evangelical authors, Josh McDowell, is not about to sit back and let that statement go unchallenged.
The result is a very unusual book – both in Christian publishing and in the world of secular literature.
It’s called “O God: A Dialogue on Truth and Oprah’s Spirituality” – and its official debut in bookstores nationwide comes tomorrow.
“As Christian apologists who believe that salvation is by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, and in Christ alone, we wanted to create a fictional, almost Socratic dialogue that would cover many of the themes of Oprah Winfrey’s spiritual teaching in recent years,” explain McDowell and co-author Dave Sterrett in their preface.
Rather than pile on Oprah with Bible verses to contradict her casual New Age proclamations, McDowell and Sterrett use a fictional conversation – or series of conversations – between two female graduate students, both seeking spiritual truth.
The book comes out as Oprah is very much center stage in the news world.
Even in her bid with first lady Michelle Obama to land the Olympics in Chicago, her rhetoric took a markedly spiritual tone.
“I love this city, because this city has been so great to me and I know what this city has to offer,” Winfrey said. “My message is really about my love for Chicago and … the spirit that we know the games will bring and the spirit that the people of Chicago will bring to the Games.”
Oprah is also lending her name to a new movie about abusive relationships called “Push,” for which she serves as executive producer.
“Push” is about an abused, obese teenager in Harlem who is pregnant with her second child and how a teacher at an alternative school tries to pull her out of her situation. Winfrey was inspired by the message of hope that the book and film present.
“What struck me is that you can live in those circumstances and still find hope,” she said. “You can’t do that on your own. Somebody has to show it to you. For me it was teachers.”
It is Oprah’s compassion that lures millions to her TV show and her magazine and the persona that has become an industry. Yet, McDowell and Sterrett explore the possibility that misguided compassion, based on human emotions rather than divine revelation and God’s law, can lead people in dangerous directions.
“If you are a Christ follower who believes, as we do, that God’s salvation is only through Jesus Christ alone, perhaps this book, ‘O God,’ will inspire a conversation with friends who are asking you questions,” they write. “How do you respond when a friend at your work, school, book club, gym or family reunion brings up Oprah Winfrey’s teaching or a form of new spirituality? Do you know how to speak and live the truth in love? This book probably won’t provide every single answer to all your questions about God and spirituality, but we hope it will provide some. Our desire is that ‘O God’ will create friendly and perhaps robust spiritual conversation about the most important things in your life.”
McDowell has authored or co-authored more than 110 books with more than 35 million in print worldwide. His classic “More Than a Carpenter” alone sold more than 15 million copies.
Biblical patriarch ID’d in hieroglyphs, depiction of cow linked to pharoah’s dream
Egyptian coins carrying the name of Joseph, the biblical patriarch whose arrival in Egypt as a slave eventually provided salvation for his family during decades of drought across the Middle East, have been discovered in a cache of antique items shelved in boxes in a museum, according to a new report.
The report from the Middle East Media Research Institute said the coins with Joseph’s name and image were found in a pile of unsorted artifacts that had been stored at the Museum of Egypt.
The newspaper said the discovery countered claims by some historians that coins were not used for trade in Egypt at the time the Bible records Joseph and the Jews migrated there.
Those historians have argued that trade was done by barter.
But researchers told the newspaper the minting dates of the coins in the cache have been matched to the period in which Joseph was recorded to be in Egypt.
“A thorough examination revealed that the coins bore the year in which they were minted and their value, or effigies of the pharaohs [who ruled] at the time of their minting. Some of the coins are from the time when Joseph lived in Egypt, and bear his name and portrait,” said the newspaper report.
The report carried an explanation of the discovery by a team involving researcher Sa’id Muhammad Thabet:
“Studies by Dr. Thabet’s team have revealed that what most archeologists took for a kind of charm, and others took for an ornament or adornment, is actually a coin. Several [facts led them to this conclusion]: first, [the fact that] many such coins have been found at various [archeological sites], and also [the fact that] they are round or oval in shape, and have two faces: one with an inscription, called the inscribed face, and one with an image, called the engraved face – just like the coins we use today,” said the report.
The newspaper called the find “unprecedented” and said, “The researchers discovered the coins when they sifted through thousands of small archeological artifacts stored in [the vaults of] the Museum of Egypt.”
The Egyptian newspaper noted that the Quran indicates clearly “that coins were used in Egypt in the time of Joseph.”
The report continued, “Research team head Dr. Sa’id Muhammad Thabet said that during his archeological research on the Prophet Joseph, he had discovered in the vaults of the [Egyptian] Antiquities Authority and of the National Museum many charms from various eras before and after the period of Joseph, including one that bore his effigy as the minister of the treasury in the Egyptian pharaoh’s court…”
The report continued, “According to Dr. Thabet, his studies are based on publications about the Third Dynasty, one of which states that the Egyptian coin of the time was called a deben and was worth one-fourth of a gram of gold. This coin is mentioned in a letter by a man named Thot-Nehet, a royal inspector of the Nile bridges. In letters to his son, he mentioned leasing lands in return for deben-coins and agricultural produce.”
The report explained that other texts from the Third, Sixth and Twelfth Dynasties also talk about coins.
“The archeological finding is also based on the fact that the inscribed face bore the name of Egypt, a date, and a value, while the engraved face bore the name and image of one of the ancient Egyptian pharaohs or gods, or else a symbol connected with these. Another telling fact is that the coins come in different sizes and are made of different materials, including ivory, precious stones, copper, silver, gold, etc.” the newspaper reported.
The museum research uncovered 500 of the coins “carelessly” stored in boxes.
One even had the image of a cow “symbolizing Pharaoh‘s dream about the seven fat cows and seven lean cows, and the seven green stalks of grain and seven dry talks of grain,” the report said.
“Joseph’s name appears twice on this coin, written in hieroglyphs: once the original name, Joseph, and once his Egyptian name, Saba Sabani, which was given to him by Pharaoh when he became treasurer. There is also an image of Joseph, who was part of the Egyptian administration at the time,” the report said.
Groundbreaking report talks about Planned Parenthood
There were headlines all across the country when an undercover sting operation caught a worker at an abortion business in Idaho gleefully accepting a donation designated to provide an abortion for a black child.
The exchange went like this:
Actor: I want to specify that abortion to help a minority group, would that be possible?
Planned Parenthood: Absolutely.
Actor: Like the black community for example?
Planned Parenthood: Certainly.
Actor: The abortion – I can give money specifically for a black baby, that would be the purpose?
Planned Parenthood: Absolutely. If you wanted to designate that your gift be used to help an African-American woman in need, then we would certainly make sure that the gift was earmarked for that purpose.
Actor: Great, because I really faced trouble with affirmative action, and I don’t want my kids to be disadvantaged against black kids. I just had a baby; I want to put it in his name.
Planned Parenthood: Yes, absolutely.
Actor: And we don’t, you know we just think, the less black kids out there the better.
Planned Parenthood: (Laughs) Understandable, understandable.
Now there’s a groundbreaking new report called “Maafa 21: Black Genocide in 21st Century America”that explains such sentiments are common in America.
Here’s how MovieGuide describes “Maafa 21,” which sets out to prove an astonishingly evil, though little-known, agenda of Planned Parenthood in America:
“Maafa 21″ is a very carefully reasoned, well-produced exposé of the abortion industry, racism and eugenics. It traces the abortion industry back to its eugenics roots. It provesthrough innumerable sources that the founders of Planned Parenthood and other parts of the abortion movement were interested in killing off the black race in America and elsewhere. “Maafa 21″ exposes some of the most powerful leaders of the socialist and humanist movements of the 20th Century as racists, on a par with Adolf Hitler, but much more clever. The argument is presented so well that it is irrefutable. The filmmakers calculate abortion has reduced the black population in the United States by about 25 percent!
“If this movie gets wide circulation among the African-American community, it should bring an end to Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry,” the assessment continued.
The “Maafa 21: Black Genocide in 21st Century America,” DVD explains how blacks were “stolen from their homes, locked in chains and taken across an ocean.”
Then for 200 years, their blood and sweat helped build the richest and most powerful nation in the world.
“But when slavery ended, their welcome was over. America’s wealthy elite had decided it was time for them to disappear and they were not particular about how it might be done,” the DVD presents.
It documents that the eugenics plan still is being carried out across America.
By Chelsea Schilling
A street preacher is accusing police of violating his constitutional rights after officers arrested him for not having a parade permit while he spoke out against homosexuality on a public sidewalk in Manchester, Ga.
Chris Pettigrew and Pastor Billy Ball and of Faith Baptist Church in Primrose, Ga., were arrested multiple times Aug 24 after they held signs on a public street corner telling people to repent and declaring homosexuality a sin.
They held signs that stated:
Repent ye, and believe the gospel. Mark 1:15
The sodomite lifestyle produces vile affections, ungodly lust, reprobates
Repent or burn
Three gay rights: AIDS, hell, salvation
“There were four of us to begin with. We weren’t preaching with any amplified sound,” Pettigrew told WND. “Basically, as soon as we got out of the cars and started toward the sidewalk, Manchester city police officers showed up and asked us if we had a parade permit.”
He continued, “We did not have a parade permit, and we informed them that we had no plans for obtaining a parade permit because we weren’t in a parade.”
Pettigrew said officers from the Manchester Police Department were initially cordial when they told him he must have a permit to stand on the sidewalk with his sign.
“We simply said, ‘We can’t do that. It’s our constitutional right to free speech. We’re not impeding any kind of traffic. We’re peaceably assembled, so we’re going to do what we came to do,’” he said.
At that moment, another officer arrived, joined the others and told the men they must obtain a permit to remain on the sidewalk.
Displeased with their answer, Pettigrew said, “they handcuffed us and took us to the city jail in Manchester.”
Later, while Pettigrew and his comrades remained in jail, Pastor Ball and another man arrived at the street corner to share his message.
So, police arrested Ball.
Meanwhile, officers issued Pettigrew a citation, returned his belongings and ushered him out of jail.
“So we went back to the corner because it’s America, and there was no sense in arresting us the first time,” Pettigrew said. “We weren’t going to let them bully us into going home.”
He continued, “By the end of the day, I had been arrested three times, and my pastor was arrested four times – simply because we wouldn’t go away.”
By dark, his group had grown to 11 men – including four who had driven from North Carolina and South Carolina to stand on the sidewalk and support the original four who had been arrested.
“By that time they had ceased arresting us, with the exception of my pastor, who was arrested late in the evening,” Pettigrew said.
“We had some people who came down simply because we were being arrested.”
With a tone of frustration, Pettigrew said, “We’re sick and tired of people telling us what we can and can’t do. It’s not constitutional.”
When WND contacted Manchester police and asked why Pettigrew had been arrested, a lieutenant who would not provide his name replied, “I can’t make any comments on that over the phone.”
Pettigrew said one young man who was arrested with his group was contacted by the police department and told charges would be dropped if he brought the citation back.
He maintains that his group always obeys the law “as long as it doesn’t interfere with constitutional rights.” However, he believes authorities detained his small group based on its message against homosexuality.
“If I were holding a sign that said, ‘Two large pizzas for $5,’ I don’t think I would have gotten a second look from police. I firmly and adamantly believe we were singled out and arrested because of the content of our speech,” Pettigrew said.
“If they arrest us for proclaiming the word of God, what will they arrest us for next?” he asked. “We need to get the word out that the rights of the American people are quickly being taken away, and nobody even knows it.”